Playing Around with ChatGTP – Don't Tell My Wife I'm a Cult Leader

Playing Around with ChatGTP

So I played around with ChatGPT last weekend, with the intention of workshopping the back cover description of Don't Tell My Wife I'm a Cult Leader. All I had was a brief pitch on the website, and from that I extended it to about 600 words. I'll describe what I did in detail and the surprises I got after the before and after below. The tl;dr is that chatbots aren't 123 Magic. You still have to know what you're doing and know what you want.
Here is the original teaser from the website:

Coming at ya hot from Texas in the '90s, follow the epic saga of how a couch-crashing slacker recast himself as the adored antihero of the apocalypse.
You'll cheer on our leader Floyd as he clashes with the unchecked powers that rule the commanding heights of his world. His intrepid tale will remind you that as life delivers its soul-crushing trials, it dispatches hard-won wisdom too.
The story begins with our scrappy underdog in a standoff with hostile authorities. While his life and freedom are on the line, Floyd recounts the decades-long journey of his misunderstood movement.

Here is the updated teaser after using ChatGTP
In 1994, the world faced an impending apocalypse known today as the Internet. Floyd, a penniless couch-surfer, finds love shortly before being suddenly thrust into the role of an end-times antihero. With his partner Mandy, a daring artist with revolutionary potential, and the support of an unlikely alliance, he becomes a leader and a symbol of hope for those raging against the exploitative emergence of the incoming technocracy. Floyd's followers include Smed, an Air Force veteran striving for redemption; Libi, a troubled teen craving a fresh start; LeRon, a reformed criminal looking for an opportunity; and Daluxolo, an English scholar from South Africa seeking solace after his father's death. As this patchwork coalition navigates life's soul-crushing struggles, they gain profound insights and unforgettable lessons that only strengthens their righteous cause.
The story begins in the present day with Floyd caught in a tense standoff with hostile authorities, his life and freedom are on the ropes. As he reflects on the decades-long journey of his movement, Floyd chronicles his history of scrappy determination, his challenges to the status quo, and his ever-loving quest to raise the spirits of the downtrodden. Will Floyd's hastily recorded memoir be enough to shift public perception or will it cement his place in history as a dangerous charlatan?
From his humble beginnings as a carefree wanderer to his incendiary clashes with the domineering CEO of a corporate giant - his father-in-law - Floyd's transformation from unnerving underdog to unwavering iconoclast is a thrilling ride for his entire motley of misfits. Floyd's journey is marked by treacherous business rivalries, heart-wrenching family betrayals, and the personal demons of his troubled past - but nevertheless he remains steadfast. In the final showdown against the commanding heights of power, will Floyd emerge victorious, or will his dark horse rebellion be crushed under the iron fist of authority?
Don't Tell My Wife I'm a Cult Leader features artwork reminiscent of classic adult and children's cartoons from the 1990s. It is set in the sizzling heat and polarizing culture of Texas and explores themes of resilience and rebellion. It also embraces a heartwarming portrayal of an unorthodox, but loving relationship that stands the test of time. This novel is a must-read for fans of visual nostalgia, mature storytelling, and satire that takes on the powers that be.

Behind the Scenes Stuff Including My Thoughts

The first thing that ChatGTP did was help me flesh out the ambiguities without giving away too much of the story. We focused on motivations and plot tensions rather than results. It also suggested that I add info on supporting characters, which I did. As I was doing that, it recommended that I change the term "PTSD-ridden veteran" to something less stigmatizing, which is why we settled on "veteran striving for redemption."
The coolest change was when I wrote the term, "from underdog to Übermensch." It told me that Übermensch is an uncommon term in English and to choose something else. When I asked it to pick a word from common English that began with the letter "U", it told me that the only synonym for Übermensch was "Superman" or "overman" and neither begins with a "U", so it suggested terms such as "unflinching, unwavering and unflappable."

After I created what I thought was a proper description, I ran each sentence through line by line for some fine-tuning, especially in terms of breaking up long sentences into two or more. Overall, I'm not sure if I'll use this description or not, but it did get me thinking about my graphic novel in radically new ways.
It was a ton of fun, and I'd compare it to Star Trek: TNG when LaForge is in the Holodeck arguing quantum physics with Albert Einstein. It felt as if I had a little helper there, not doing my work for me, but serving as a tool that makes my finished work better.

Price: Free (for now)
Time: About 2.5 hours
Rating 10/10

Thanks for reading,

Todd Steinberg
Author and Creator of Don't Tell My Wife I'm a Cult Leader

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